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Housing & Homelessness

Hand-washing Stations Are Now Set-up For the Unhoused in Eugene

Melorie Begay/KLCC News

Washing your hands with soap and water has long been touted by health officials to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other diseases. For Lane County’s 2,000 plus unhoused population, that could be a problem. The county says they’re working on a solution.

Update 3/13: Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis announced Friday the city and county have deployed 10 hand-washing stations for the public to use. A few of them are located in downtown Eugene.

At a city work session in Eugene on Wednesday, councilor Emily Semple called for greater action for the unhoused community during a COVID-19 emergency preparedness update with county officials.

Credit City of Eugene

A county spokesperson Devon Ashbridge wrote in an email that the county is planning to deploy hand-washing stations. But, they need to figure out how to staff and maintain them, while preventing the spread of diseases including COVID-19.

“Most likely, we will need to contract with a third party to ensure the maintenance of the stations because we do not have enough regular staff to pull from other aspects of response,” Ashbridge wrote.

She adds that while hand-washing stations will enable good hygiene, they are only one element of a larger response in prevention. “We are working with our partners in social services to meet the special response required by COVID-19, this will ultimately be a community effort.”

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